Sharing Some Revelations: Part 3- Man’s Righteousness vs. God’s Righteousness

[This blog entry is part 3 of 3 entries. If you would like to read the other two, please start here. Thanks!]

This is the revelation that sealed the deal for me. No matter how many times I may have been taught about any one particular thing, it never fails, it takes God Himself opening my mind to it for me to fully get it (see Luke 24:45). Welp, this very thing happened to me regarding righteousness.

How often have we either been called or have called someone “self-righteous”? Maybe I am speaking for myself again, but have you ever not wanted to portray yourself as self-righteous and actually joined in on something you know you shouldn’t be doing? I have. Mainly for the sake of not causing “discomfort” to others. Sounds stupid right? Just being candid. But can this also apply to things we even may deem as righteous but it isn’t righteous to God? How often have we chosen man’s righteousness over God’s righteousness and never even knew it?

So here is the revelation. There is a difference between God’s righteousness and man’s righteousness. Jesus goes into detail about this in Matthew chapter 6. For the sake of typing and time, I am going to encourage you to stop here for a moment and read that chapter. Check it out here.

Welcome back! Did you check it out? Did you find it fascinating? When I went back to this chapter after this revelation it blew my mind! Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.” [it is a declaration of Adonai] “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” God is speaking to His people who have interpreted God’s ways by doing them their way. This is sin! This leavens the whole lump and produces death!

What do we do with all this? Let’s make it plain. Even in all that we may think is righteous, God’s righteousness far exceeds our own, and that is what He calls us to live by. He accepts nothing less. Man’s righteousness is wicked compared to His righteousness. Let’s ask this question again- what does His righteousness look like? Along with the apparent things in Matthew 6, it is also the things mentioned in the bold paragraph section found in my blog What It Looks Like, and False Gospels! It’s not having hate in our hearts toward our fellow humans. It’s not wanting to look upon another with lust in our hearts. It’s not coveting a really expensive car and a big house when what we have is perfectly fine. And so much more!

If He has given us His righteousness to live by, no man is able to say that he is self-righteous, because it is not his own righteousness he lives by if he truly lives by God’s righteousness. If you live according to His righteousness you will not bear His Name falsely. I claim His righteousness as my own through Messiah! Far be it from me to not live by it!

Make no mistake. We should not and can not expect the Kingdom to advance in any other way but by living His righteousness. We must bear the yoke of the Messiah in order for the things set in motion by Him to remain in motion. We must walk and live according to His way and His way alone.

I want to finish this series with a testimony.

The past year has been life-altering. I will never be the same. Early in 2019, I attended a conference called Power and Love. There were many things about the conference that I was a bit leary of, but I partook in it anyway. The worship was amazing and there is no way to deny the power of the Holy Spirit being there. I got wrecked! I found myself hungry for God again and spiritually eager to seek Him. This is what God used to spark a journey for me. First, it led to exploring the prophetic gifting. I learned a lot and actually had several moments of being able to minister prophetically. A little later in the year, I was also led to step away from the worship team at my church to enter into a season of rest.

To keep things brief, I’ll jump ahead. Ultimately, I found myself once again going down paths that I truly did not desire to take. But I took them nonetheless. Come October of 2019, I decided to start some therapy. I needed healing in some areas and therapy became absolutely necessary. Jesus walked through all of this with me! As I have healed, and coming from where I am now, I look back on the last six months in total awe of the power of God! I had been brought down low only to be reconstructed with more of His wisdom and understanding. Eventually, I got to a point where I rejected seeking all things regarding spiritual gifts except one; to learn to love as He loves. I prayed for nothing else. I expected nothing else. I wanted nothing else. Contrary to popular recommendations, I even set aside reading the Bible for a time. What good does it do anyway when you aren’t able to view it through God’s love and intentions? It does no good at all.

I just focused solely on praying and asking the Lord for the gift of love. He has been answering this prayer by working it in me slowly. I eventually started to see a difference in how I interacted with my family and the people at my job. It emboldened me to keep praying and thanking God for the gift of His love. I wanted more. He is faithful to give me more. The more I get, the more things have come in to focus not just regarding scripture, but life altogether!

Living this way hasn’t only affected me, it has also affected those around me, namely, my coworkers. One in particular, whom I will not name specifically, but would like to expound on how.

My friend and coworker is a fellow believer and has become a dear brother to me. If I’m being honest, he reminds me a lot of myself. We are similar in so many ways, as we are men who know the Lord but also aren’t perfect and are relying on Him to change us no matter how bad that change may hurt sometimes. God is an expert pride killer. My friend told me that last year he prayed for the Lord to send someone to help with some correction in his life. Fast forward to the beginning of this year, things apparently started to come to light for him via the Holy Spirit and my friend feels that this correction he prayed for is coming through me. Now pay attention! Minus maybe one or two moments of me stepping out of line during some intense discussions on theology, I have chosen to focus on purposefully walking according to what the Lord is showing me and working in me and I refuse to waver from that. I don’t think my friend would mind me saying that that is what has probably convicted him the most. Here’s what I want to make clear though. I don’t care one minute to base my decision on living like the Messiah on whether or not someone may be convicted by it or not, nor even possibly be blessed by it. My only motive is to please God in all that I do. Nothing more, nothing less. What the Lord decides to do through that is His decision. In this case, it is ministering to my friend for the use of correction. The Lord is proving to me that this is how HE advances HIS Kingdom! This is why I believe I can take absolutely no credit regarding what the Lord is doing through me when all I have done is live according to His righteousness and His will. Are there rewards for me in Heaven? I know what the word says about that, but I honestly do not care. My reward is what is already in my heart and that is both to will and to do his commandments. This is the reward I cherish the most right now. Obviously, I’ll admit that it does bless me greatly, and I am so humbled that the Lord would use me in any capacity He sees fit. Such as how He has ministered to my friend through me.

Final Exhortation

I want to encourage any believers who read these three blogs to consider praying the same prayer I mentioned above. Ask God to show you how to love as He does and as He expects us to. Set aside all other prayers temporarily if you must. My main prayer currently is that He opens the eyes of all believers! We have been blinded by deception, and make no mistake, there are plenty of things being taught from pulpits that are only keeping our eyes closed, or at best has blurred our vision. We have work to do and it may look more like just committing to living like the Messiah rather than begging people to come to church with us. We don’t need more of the blind leading the blind.

I mean it when I say I love you all! May shalom upon shalom overtake you!

-From Death To Life

Sharing Some Revelations: Part 2- What It Looks Like, and False Gospels

What Is “It”, What “It” Looks Like, and False Gospels

Here’s another quick but great video from the BibleProject on “gospel”.

Let’s define what I mean by “it”. “It” is the Gospel, God’s will, the Kingdom of God/Heaven, purpose, calling, Heaven and Earth, the Age to Come, the purpose of Messiah, and so on… “it” is a lot of things regarding the entirety of everything and why it exists and the good news proclaimed for it. Does that make sense? Those who have ears, let them hear. 🙂

“It” is not up for personal interpretation nor translation. “It” is more than how we choose to believe. “It” goes beyond theology and doctrine. Ultimately, brass tax, “it” is our relationship with God and how we are meant to live in response to that relationship, and also how we are supposed to co-reign with Him here on Earth. Everything else is established on this. All interpretations, translations, beliefs, theologies, and doctrines not founded upon a relationship with God through the Messiah and His True Gospel, is false.

God welcomes and actively invites us into a relationship with Him. It was the first thing He was after when He created everything, and it is still what He is after now. He. Wants. Us! This is our foundation and hope. Everything else falls into place from this perspective.

So let me expound further with a somewhat chronological list. I will try to keep it as brief, yet effective, as possible.

God creates man for relationship and the purpose of co-ruling Earth together. God gives man a command. Man disobeyed. God spared man but there were still consequences. Death/sin was born through man’s disobedience. God still wants a relationship with man and has a plan to reestablish His Kingdom on Earth. Man got pretty bad and unfortunately, God had to do something about it, but still was able to save His purpose through mankind by sparing Noah and his family. God is relentless in His attempts to reestablish what He originally wanted for man and creation in the first place, so He cuts covenants with men like Abraham, and then the people of Israel, and eventually David. God gives instructions to Israel through Moses on how to establish His way on this Earth through Torah, but man still missed it. God sees this and knows the only way to get this whole thing done is to “write His instructions (Torah) on the hearts of men” (Jeremiah 31:32, Romans 2:15). God ultimately lays down His life for the world through Messiah Yeshua. The New Covenant is cut. Mankind is redeemed. Eternal life can now once again flourish in the hearts of men and the Kingdom of God can be spread throughout the Earth spiritually. Then eventually Messiah will return back to us to establish His Kingdom physically. That’s the long-short of the big story.

Let’s focus on where we are at in this timeline, which is the Kingdom here on Earth spiritually through Messiah. What is this supposed to look like? Does it even have a “look”? Do we have a clear model within the Bible we can compare ourselves to? Yup!

It looks like-

Loving God with ALL of yourself; loving people as yourself; humility; poor in spirit; mourning; meekness; kindness; hungering and thirsting for righteousness; mercifulness; purity in heart; peacemaking; persecution for the sake of righteousness; not seeking revenge; loving and praying for your enemies; not doing anything out of selfishness or conceit but with humility considering others as more important than yourselves; selflessness; not judging falsely; not grumbling or arguing or holding grudges; giving more than receiving; serving one another; the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

All of this and much much more like it is what the Kingdom of God looks like! This is who Kingdom people are and furthermore, this is what His will is when we pray “on Earth as it is in Heaven”!

So let’s ask ourselves some questions. Are these things prominently taught in churches these days? Are some or most or all of these attributes missing from modern teaching? Are any of the other teachings being taught in line with these attributes or are they contrary?

Jesus laid a foundation for us in Matthew chapter 5 in regards to how our attitude should be. This is the Kingdom! In fact, He proved God’s very own nature to us through this and how He expects His people and anyone else who comes to Him to also to be. Any teaching removed from this kind of attitude is dangerous and ultimately does not lead to, nor can it, produce Life. It produces death. Jesus is the root, and we abide in Him by keeping His commands. If we do not keep His commands, we do not abide and therefore can not produce fruit! John chapter 15 has details on this. The fruit we are meant to bear is the aforementioned things! Even if you do these things but your heart isn’t in them, meaning you do them but don’t actually want to do them, then you are not bearing true fruit! I can attest to this very miracle in my own life that I WANT to do these things. I WANT to put others before myself. I WANT to give more than I receive. I WANT with ALL MY HEART to be like Messiah! Am I saying it’s always easy? NOPE! Haha! But I can’t help but speak of the miracle that God Himself has worked with His own hands in my heart, nor will I be ashamed of it! I WANT TO KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS! They are not burdensome for me, as 1 John 5:3 suggests is how it should be. Believe me when I say though, that I am still growing in all of this. As all of us should be. I have noticed that as I have been bearing this fruit, that I have been able to recognize more clearly that same fruit in other believers. But also, on the flip side, I have been able to recognize when it isn’t in some professed believers. That’s not to blame those professed believers though, because sadly there are false gospels being taught and it has led many astray.

What is a false gospel? A false gospel is anything contrary to those things mentioned in that bold paragraph. I had considered listing false gospels but I started to feel deep down it would be counterproductive. No matter what, we should always be in a position of humility in what we think we know and seek the Lord regarding them. I trust Him with my life, but I have had to learn to also trust Him with the lives of others too. He is the Great Revealer! So let me just say a few things regarding what to look for with false gospels and I will trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

Does it promote self? If you are listening to teachings that promote self more than promoting Jesus or others, please consider that it is false. The world is saturated with self-promotion and glorification and it has definitely seeped into the church. We are to esteem others more highly than ourselves. We are to pray for our enemies with no inkling of recompense in our hearts towards them. We are to lay our lives down for one another. Serve one another. Give as freely as we have received. Don’t miss it here! God is faithful to those who have laid down their lives for the sake of the Messiah. He will fill your heart with more love than you can handle if you do these things. I promise you.

Does it teach no persecution? Jesus made things VERY clear in this. His way is not a popular way. So if people are teaching contrary to His way, they either are just blind to His way or they might truly fear persecution. I am not talking about something like getting a middle finger from a non-believer. I am talking about being rejected by people close to you because you truly walk out your salvation in fear and trembling. You sincerely revere God and desire to walk righteously in His ways. Some people, most notably the hyper-religious folk, will despise you for it and they will persecute you because they don’t want to live like that.

Does it promote the love of money, or teach you that coveting is okay inadvertently? Sadly, there is a lot of misleading regarding money. Now, I’m just going to iterate right off the bat that I am not okay with pitting prosperity against poverty or vice versa. Ultimately, what is taught in the Word by Jesus and His disciples is to be content! Be content with what has been given to you! Want nothing more, and be thankful to God for what you have. Hebrews 13:5 states, “Keep your lifestyle free from the love of money, and be content with what you have. For God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,” And Paul writes in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to live with humble means, and I know what it is to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment—both to be filled and to go hungry, to have abundance and to suffer need. I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me.” I have had many times where I found myself daydreaming about winning the lottery and the things I could do with that money. But now, without hesitation, I will attest with great joy that I am free of that. Contentment is a beautiful thing. It is a gift that is worth more than all the riches of this world combined. Sidenote: Also, give out your lack or abundance! God honors your giving either way! Do not be deceived though, If you have an abundance, ask the Lord to give you the heart to give to those in need. Giving is far better than receiving!

Does it promote idolatry? Here’s the tricky one! This one goes undetected quite often. How do we tell? Please pay attention. It’s is when one part of the Word of God is emphasized and focused on and it becomes the basis by which the rest of the Word of God is judged or interpreted. This is probably the biggest cause of schisms in doctrine in my opinion. Man puts his own knowledge in front of himself as an idol and worships it and refuses correction even from God.

There are probably more indicators but I think we are getting to the point. Ultimately, again, what is false is anything contrary to His ways through Messiah. Do not be deceived. There is only One Way, One Truth, and One Life!

Have mercy and open our eyes, Lord!

If you would like to continue reading, the third blog is called Man’s Righteousness, vs God’s Righteousness. Click here.

Story Time: Story 1

A time ago, A man was once given a book. This book told a tale of a mighty kingdom that was ruled by an even mightier king. This man was captivated by this book and became convinced that he was meant to live like it.

In all his reading of the book, he started to build and convert everything around him according to how he saw the kingdom in the book. He worked day and night, hardly resting at all, to construct his version of the told kingdom. As he was building, he invited all his friends and family into his kingdom to show them the way he perceived the kingdom as told in the book.

He convinced and recruited them enough to help him build and expand his kingdom, and they marveled at this man’s dedication to his mission, and his wisdom from the book. They said to themselves, “I want to be just as devoted to this thing as he is! Maybe someday I can start my own kingdom and have as many loyal followers as he!”

The man became aware of how people viewed him and began to believe and say to himself, “I bet the mighty king in the book would be pleased with me! Look how I’ve made things look around me! It looks exactly how I see it in the book!”

Still, day and night he worked tirelessly to instruct and encourage his followers to build and invite as many people into his kingdom so it can become as mighty as what he saw in the book. He would hold feasts and invite his higher-ups and assistants to dine at his table and they would get drunk on their own accomplishments and how many people they had invited into their expanding kingdom. They proclaimed their own kingdom as if it were the mighty kingdom as found in the book. How proud they became of the thing they built and the people they had become!

One day, a man within this expanding kingdom had the exact same book. He studied just as diligently as the first man but he saw things differently. He didn’t believe the kingdom the first man was building was a good representation of what was found in the book.

The second man decided that he would begin building his own kingdom but he knew he’d have to have followers to be successful. He began to recruit people within the first kingdom and shared his viewpoint with them and those who he recruited began to see it his way too! He eventually gained their trust and it didn’t take long for him to start building his own kingdom not far from the first man’s kingdom.

The second kingdom became as successful and maybe even larger than the first kingdom! The second man thought to himself, “I know for sure that I would please the mighty king in the book if he were to see what I have done!”

Eventually, the same thing happened within the second man’s kingdom as what he committed in the first, and a third kingdom was born. In fact, this same cycle continued within each kingdom until there were hundreds of smaller kingdoms within just a few miles of each other. Each kingdom believing that the mighty king in the book would be pleased with them and that their way was the right way to do what they found in the book.

One day, without notice, the mighty king from the book appeared but not many within the multiple kingdoms recognized him. As he traveled within each kingdom he found only a few that truly knew him and his kingdom that is mentioned in the book. Most of the men of which started each kingdom did not like the mighty king because he would feed the poor and was comforting those who were on the outskirts of each kingdom. Those who were rejected yet tolerated within the walls.

The mighty king was not pleased and did not recognize the kingdoms that were built even though many of the people proclaimed and believed their version was the kingdom found in the book.

He revealed himself to them as the mighty king in the book and the people became terrified! The mighty king rebuked each kingdom and the men who started each one! They became terrified of what they had done and that they never even knew they were wrong! He said, “You missed my kingdom and built your own kingdom according to how you saw fit! My kingdom is hidden and can only be expanded within the hearts of men! Not by buildings or by wealth! You have declared yourselves my servants but I do not know you and you do not know me! If you wish to learn and be a part of my kingdom, follow me and I personally will teach you my ways! I will reveal all truth to you about me and my kingdom from my book!”

Many of the people, including some of the men who built their own kingdoms, had heeded the mighty king’s words and they dropped everything to follow him and live according to his ways. But sadly, many of the men who had their own kingdoms refused the offer and many of their followers stayed with them, as they did not believe it was the true king. They only believed the book according to how the men they followed taught them.

Sharing Some Revelations: Part 1- Missing It

So recently I have been posting a lot on Facebook about some things lately, and I felt I needed to flesh out more of what the Lord has been showing me. These are some fresh revelations to me. I’m sure they may not be fresh revelations for others, but it is my hope that at least some will get a fresh revelation from my sharing of these things.

Firstly, please know none of what is to follow is to imply any condemnation. “Therefore, there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Messiah Yeshua.” – Romans 8:1.

Yeshua is not condemning us, and neither do I! For the first time in my life, I have become saturated with so much love I feel like I have no other option other than to spill out what the Lord is showing me. Some of it can seem harsh, but if we know our Heavenly Father like we are supposed to, we know He rebukes and chastens the ones He loves! It is by His grace that He not only corrects us but also supplies instruction on how to walk out that correction! Obviously, let it be known, I have applied these corrections in my life and the fruit being bore of it has changed my life forever!

I am going to write these things into three blog posts but that by no means implicates disconnection from one another, nor do I want it to imply either of them is more or less important than the other. Also, none of this is meant to introduce some new “formula” on how to apply biblical principles. Some things can only be revealed by the Holy Spirit and I believe without any doubt that what I am writing about will require a personal revelation for each reader. So before you continue reading, please ask the Lord to open your eyes and mind. If you disagree with anything I have written, that’s totally fine with me. It won’t change my love for you! But will it change your love for me? Please understand that I am not proclaiming anything contrary to biblical teaching. I love the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who is the Father of our Lord, Messiah Yeshua. No man comes to the Father except through Messiah, who is the Way the Truth and the Life. Here we go!

Missing It

Please check out the video below from BibleProject to learn a little Hebrew word background before you continue.

Did you watch it?? If not, you may not understand the context of what is to follow.

So… missing it is sin. It’s not just about the really bad sins like adultery, anger, and violence and the things that are obvious! What about the less obvious? The bible says that even just a little leaven spoils the whole lump (1Corinthians 5:6, Galatians 5:9). If we really love the Lord, we should be pursuing repentance (which is not just a one-time thing but is a daily choice lifestyle) in all things that do not please Him, which ultimately is what sin is. We are missing it in what pleases Him. Let’s draw back a moment in humility and really truly consider that we could be missing it as Messiah’s community/the church. If we can truly learn to accurately judge ourselves individually, then we should be able to truly judge ourselves as the Body of Messiah collectively.

For the sake of time and affectiveness, I will not try to list numerous sins. Let’s use the sin of comparing ourselves to one another as an example to hopefully prove the point I am trying to make.

I’m sure this is something a lot of us have to deal with. I am guilty of comparing myself to others and have been for a long time. No doubt it could’ve been caused by insecurities already existing within me, but let’s dive into another possibility- Church Culture.

Most churches have become very cliquey. Can anyone deny that? The fact that we have so many different churches in a single city should prove this, let alone the cliques within each individual church. If we all were truly preaching the same message and believed the same gospel, I HIGHLY doubt there would be a church building on seemingly every street corner.

How about idolatry? Those who are in positions of “full time” ministry have somewhat been idolized, have they not? Especially big-name preachers. Is this primarily their fault? No, not necessarily. Though make no mistake, some may know that is exactly what they are doing and have no desire to change otherwise. God help them. And what about worship bands and leaders?

We ALL have promoted this “rockstar” culture in Christianity. You may ask, ‘What’s wrong with our culture?’, and to that extent is why I want to emphasize praying that the Lord opens our eyes. Could this be a product produced by what we believe the gospel to be over what God intended it to be? If that is even possible in the slightest degree, we are missing it! Please pray about this.

As a former worship leader, I can attest to promoting this culture without hesitation. Let me gladly confess my own sin here in writing; I put on a yoke of false humility my entire worship leading life. With all honesty, I can look back and easily see that now; that I wanted to be known but I didn’t even really know that was a prominent motive in me. It was masked by what I thought was right because of our church culture. I wanted to prove how legit my relationship with God was by my gift. Not because I thought I was even a great worship leader, but because my gift became my identity in the church, and also the basis on which how I ultimately believed I was able to please God. I needed and wanted the affirmation of people. Again, could that have been due to my own insecurities? Obviously, YES! However, in the face of this kind of church culture, my insecurities were only being amplified by it! Who knows, maybe that’s just me! Though, I don’t think it is just me.

I said all that to make my point by raising one important question-  are we doing things in our church culture and not even considering that it may not be pleasing to God just because of how pleasing to man it has become? In light of the True Gospel, I struggle to find anywhere in scripture that it is a popular way of belief and living. Jesus made things clear by saying, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are MANY. How narrow is the gate and DIFFICULT the way that leads to LIFE, and those who find it are FEW.” – Matthew 7:13-14. Are we just trying to popularize this thing? Are we making our decisions based on growing the numbers of butts in pews? Let’s get real with this, family!

Let’s consider that we may be missing it and trust the Lord to correct us!

Word of warning: I would advise you don’t pray and ask the Lord to show you if you don’t want to take this seriously! He will show you and from then on you will be responsible for how you respond and change or don’t change accordingly. Let me be an example. He has shown me and I am responding in His leading, and I do not care to ever go back to accepting things as the way they’ve been just because “this is how we do it.” I only care to know how God wants things done and He showed us this Way through Messiah!

If you would like to keep reading, the next blog is called- What it looks like, and False Gospels. Click here to check it out.

 

Time Goes By

The turn of a segment of time has always been a thought-provoking experience for me. More provocative is when it’s the end of one decade and the start of a new.

Here is my two-cents on the infinite barrage of New Year blogs.

2010-2019 (The “Learning To Adult” Decade)

I must admit, I view this span of time as not my best years. Minus becoming a father in 2013, I struggle to look back and find things I am just overwhelmingly proud of. In fact, much to my dismay, there are many things I am unproud of. Ups and downs would be putting how the decade felt politely, I suppose. Looking back on it has been pretty disappointing.

Yes, there were good times in there. Yes, I probably would do good to just focus on those instead of the bad. But I can’t help but feel like I have a lot to learn from all the self-inflicted wounds I incurred in the past decade.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is Ecclesiastes chapter 3 because it emphasizes there is a time and place for everything. There is a time to focus on the good, and I have been blessed to have that mindset before… I’ve been there! It’s awesome! It is a gift from God! But I’m just not there this go-round, and I am having to make peace with that. You may say, “Where is your faith?? God is bigger than your problems!”, and whatever other religious babble you can say. To that, I ask that you just keep reading and bear with the negativity for a moment.

This decade had more valleys than hills. Several very dark moments. Moments I look back on and don’t even recognize the man living them. Suffice it to say I just can’t bear to claim that man as me. Was it me? Was it an alter ego? Who is this douche bag???? I would very much like to punch this man in the throat.

Without airing all my dirty laundry, I’ll just get to the point of why I’m alluding to my issues this past decade.

Did I Learn?

When I was younger I took James 1:5 deeply to heart.

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all without hesitation and without reproach; and it will be given to him.”

I have always expected the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God in which I serve and love, to uphold this promise. With that said, I can say I haven’t arrived.

This wisdom doesn’t have an arrival or destination. It evolves with us. Better yet, we evolve with it.

I do look back on this past decade with displeasure and disdain. But in my reflections, the wisdom inside me bears witness that my Messiah was with me every step of the way. I maybe was unable to comprehend that in those darker times. But I am able to comprehend it now.

He was with me through my sin, my anger, my bitterness, my depression, my distrust, my wanting to give up, my wanting nothing to do with Him, my identity issues, my materialism, my selfishness, my pride, my lust, my doubt, my drunkenness, and on and on and on…

My God never leaves.

My God proved to me throughout both the good and bad times of this past decade that He is a God of relationship. Not the phony- “feel good, I’ma stick around only when it’s good” -kind of relationships. But the real, filthy, roll up your sleeves, HARD WORK kind of relationships. He never expected a surface relationship with me. He proved to me that this is for better or for worse. He proved to me what a real family is all about. We don’t leave. We embrace. We don’t conceal it. We face it.

I learned to trust my God on a level that only He can instill because He is the one who promises to prove His faithfulness. It’s one thing to see it proven in The Bible time and again. But when we entrust the Holy Spirit of God to entwine Himself to our spirit personally you begin to understand it more on, well, a personal level. This is where the foundations of unshakable trust are laid. This is where you become more reliant on who God is in your life rather than what He does in your life. There is nothing wrong with what He can do in your life, obviously. But it is far better to know who He is. To KNOW that He is for you. To KNOW that He will complete the good work He began in you. To KNOW He loves, loves, loves you.

So ultimately, yes, I learned. But probably the hard way. I do believe God can reveal wisdom in ways that best suit the individual, so maybe for me, I learned these life lessons best via the hard way.

Goals for 2020-2029

My family is the most important thing to me on this Earth. Whatever the Lord is doing in my heart, I want it to pertain to how I can be more selfless for my family. How well I love and serve my family. Learning to love others properly starts with how we love our families.

Also, I want to love others the way I am loved by God and my family. Jesus said it Himself, Matthew 22:37-40; the entire summation of the Law and Prophets can be fulfilled in- Loving God with your entire being, and loving your neighbor as yourself.

When I stand before Messiah and He asks me, “Did you learn to love?”, I want to be able to say yes without hesitation or doubt. We are without excuse on how to love because He displayed it perfectly for us. It’s the kind of love that is who I am more so than what I do. 

Do I truly LOVE people?!

That is my focus for the next decade. Becoming rather than doing. Because I know the more I become like Him, the more I will do like Him.

I pray shalom to all who read this. My hope is that there might be some who could glean whatever insight the Lord would reveal to them through this.

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!

-From Death To Life

 

 

 

Whatever It Takes

This blog entry has already proven itself difficult as I have written four different opening paragraphs only to restart each time.  What’s interesting is that I knew that the title was going to be what it is before I even started writing this.  I have been mulling over for a couple weeks now how I feel it best to say what it is I need to say.  This isn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  So I am definitely trusting the Holy Spirit with this.

Whether if you have read any of my previous posts, or know me personally, you would know that I am a Christian.  I love Jesus.  Above all things, I want to know Him personally, walk with Him intimately, and I want to do His will.  Lately, I have been in a weird phase in my life with the Lord, but make no mistake, it has been very good.  There has been a calmness to this new season that has left me without any doubt that it is God.  “Relax” has been a word that has been resounding in my spirit for months.  God knows exactly what I need, and if He says to “relax”, what am I going to do? Relax, of course…  or at least I’m gonna try.

In our American culture, we are programmed to “do, do, do”, and our worth/value directly correlates to our performance.  Furthermore, our candidacy for promotion tends to be founded upon merit, behavior, and actions.  I know I might be making that last statement sound like a bad thing, which I know isn’t always the case, but in the scope of our faith, it tends to breed competitiveness, pride, and arrogance which are all inherently bad.  Basically, what we do trumps who we are.  Am I saying that promotion, accomplishment, and all the other related things are bad?  No.  At least not when there is proper balance with it all.  What I will emphatically say is bad and a fallacy is when identities are founded upon what a person’s merits and accomplishments are.  That may not necessarily be what is directly taught, but I assure you, subliminally this lifestyle is EVERYWHERE and it is steadily woven into our personalities as we grow up.  Growing up in the church is no exception and can actually be worse.  So ultimately, going back to what the Lord has been saying to me (relax), it really can be somewhat difficult to do because of the culture I’ve grown up in.

In my junior year of high school, I was a bass player for a local band.  It was a blast and I enjoyed my time in it.  During summer camp with my church that year, the Lord spoke to me and encouraged me to quit the band because He was going to use me in praise and worship.  I was obedient immediately and met with the guys in my band as soon as I got back from camp.  I had no further direction other than Him mentioning he was going to put me in praise and worship.  As I analyzed and meditated on it all, I obviously grew very curious as to how God was going to work His plan for me.  It didn’t seem like the opportunity was there for me at the current church I was at, but I trusted His word nonetheless.  After graduating, I was still left wondering when this would all take place.  Well, that year at the same camp the Lord spoke to me about praise and worship, and I met the cool kids of “On Fire Youth” from Agape Church in Little Rock, Arkansas.  It was an instant, and I mean INSTANT, connection.  I hung out with them all week and ended up learning that they needed a bass player for their worship team.  Hmmm… uncoincidentally, I was a bass player at that time.  God made it clear.  I started with playing bass in the youth band to leading songs.  Then from leading worship in the youth band to leading in main services.  I have been doing it for fifteen years now, minus a two-year sabbatical.

At the turn of the year, I had purposed to fast and spend time in prayer regarding my and my family’s future.  As the months have passed, it has become apparent that for me a season of rest is at hand.  Again, this “relax” word keeps popping up in my spirit over and over.  When I prayed to the Lord for more of a desire for Him… “relax”.  When I am desperate to know what our future holds… “relax”.  When I want so badly to flow in the gifts and do His work… “relax”.  When I want to please Him… “relax”.  When I am displeased with myself for not getting up and praying or reading the Word… “relax”.  Relax, relax, relax.

As I am typing this, the Lord is speaking to me saying, “Sometimes the best and most perfect and pleasing action is to just be still and know that I am God.”  I believe some of you reading this needed to hear that.

How perfect is our God?  How satisfied are you in just knowing Him?  How confident are you that even in doing nothing you are still pleasing to Him?  Why do you feel it is appropriate to beg God for things when He knows your heart better than you will ever know it?  Don’t you know that to trust Him with your whole heart means to trust that He will finish His good work in you?  Don’t you know that He knows what is best for you in every facet of your life?  Can’t you see that your striving is resistance to Him?  Quit looking at what others are doing for Him and believing that they must just be in a better place with the Lord. Maybe they are, or maybe they’re far from Him and are just trying to vainly make up for by their deeds.  Remember John the beloved?  Remember how Peter was insecure about John’s relationship with the Lord?  Remember when Jesus corrected Peter about that?  Jesus doesn’t compare your accomplishments with others, so why you do you do that to yourself?  Jesus desires a PERSONAL relationship with every person.  Let us rejoice that our walks are unique and different rather than harboring envy and jealousy.  Our identity in Him is what matters most.

Just about a month ago, the Lord prompted me to step away from praise and worship, and this past Sunday (June 9, 2019) was my last service on the team.  This prompting wasn’t necessarily a surprise to me, nor my wife when I told her because we both had been feeling a change was coming.  Do I know what the next step is? No. And honestly, I don’t care what the next step is.  I have obsessed over the next step for most of my life rather than just taking in all that this present step has to offer.  Does this mean I am never going to do praise and worship again?  I highly doubt that because the gifts are without repentance.  Whatever the future holds, it will still be there when I get there.  I am willing to do whatever it takes to promote the Lord working in my heart.  If that means I have to sit on the bench for awhile I’m good with that.  I truly believe the Lord is rewiring my heart to understand that my gift in worship is not my identity.  Whether or not I sing or play another note is irrelevant.  What is relevant is how I identify with Christ aside from anything I do for Him.

Though I may not see the full picture, I know He does.  I don’t have to understand to obey.

My reason for sharing all this is to testify that God is the Promise Keeper in this covenant relationship.  My only burden in this relationship is to trust that He will do with my heart what He says He will do.

– From Death To Life

 

 

 

Just Throwing This Out There

I meant to do this a couple weeks ago…

In early March, I had a dream that woke me from my sleep.  It wasn’t the usual dream that is easily forgotten and details are spotty.  When I awoke I immediately typed it into my notes in my phone and then tried to go back to sleep. The dream went as follows:

I was in a dimly lit movie theater. There were a few people around me that I knew and some I did not know. In the row just in front of my row and two seats down to my right (which was an aisle seat), a young man I did not know began to convulse with a seizure.  Many people began to pray for his healing and were laying hands on him, or at least stretching their hands forth as I was.  In the middle of his seizure attack, he rears his head back to the person behind him and says, “Call Sandy!”.  My friend Jeremy was in the same row as I was, but was buried in his seat in prayer for the young man. (I later asked Jeremy if perchance he was aware of a young man with a condition like this and he said no.) I woke up not long after that.

When I tried to somewhat analyze the dream and ask the Lord for interpretation, I feel like the Lord was trying to tell me that the seizures were not physically related and the young man has been tormented since childhood by a spirit.  To this day, I am still unaware if “Sandy” is his mother, relative or friend, but I could judge by the feeling I had in the dream that she (or possibly he) was important to the young man.

I ended up calling out the dream at my church that following Sunday to see if potentially it pertained to someone’s life in our present congregation and no one responded.  My church has a LiveStream also so I didn’t rule out the possibility of the target person listening by that means.  Since then, I have been diligent to be aware of potentially meeting a person with the name Sandy.

However, as stated in the first sentence, I meant to post this here a couple weeks ago.  I feel like the Lord reminded me to do it, so here we are.

If you know of a young man who suffers from seizures and the doctors haven’t been able to determine a physical cause, and he knows someone close to him named Sandy, please feel free to either prophecy this to them or send them to me somehow.

The frustration your family has felt about this condition and the lack of answers is seen by God and He wants you to know to cast off the spirit of infirmity.  He will deliver him.

Side note: I am fully open to the possibility of me misinterpreting this dream. If you read this and feel strongly that the Lord is giving you a different interpretation, PLEASE let me know.